No French Cuffs

Plaid flannel shirts
of my Northwoods youth
smelled of
beer and pine cones
boat motor gasoline and
fresh caught sunfish
wood smoke
and filtered Winstons

when I was a kid the
intertwined, pungent
aromas of cervelat salami
plumbers’ grease, house paint
mingled freely, locked
in square-patterned fibers,
always-rolled-up sleeves

no amount of
Fels-Naptha soap
could smother those
godly auras

When I was a kid
plaid flannel shirts smelled
wonderfully worn by heroes –
old men with accents and dialects
eye-winks and odd habits
mentors who I know understood,
that I emulated
aspired to one day be like

Plaid flannel shirts
hang now in my closet;
freshly washed, hanging neatly –
as they never
would or could on the
hero-men I knew

My plaid flannel shirts
hang quietly, neatly,
sedately
rarely worn, quietly lived-in
yet they, too
smell of wood smoke
and pine trees
beer, salami, pine

wood box colby cheese and
chainsaw exhaust,
bait minnows and Old Spice
whenever I open
my closet

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2018
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Broadsides

I once asked Godimg_20161113_082229
for a sign

needing more
than spiritual
Burma-Shave

cardboard
placards stapled
to raw, rough
pine sticks

Ah, but I am
not advertising

my tag-board
always blankly
devoid of
political hateimg_20161113_084228
hackneyed slogans

five-ninety-nine
pizza specials!
buy your
gold for more!

I am not here
to direct others
to event parking
or partake in
girls! girls! girls!

nobody here is
going out of businessimg_20161113_082233
due to low prophets
the guy misspelled
the end is ‘neer

spiritual conclusion

God wants me
to protest
something
all of it, perhaps

there is no profit
to prophesying or
downsizing

I am I!

Less recalcitrant,img_20161113_084229
spat-up Noah –
pine-splinter
infused hands
to wave

my finely honed
ability to ignore
disdainful glances,
head shaking
avoidance

causes me to smile

I wear styish,
spat-out invective
from passerby
curmudgeonlyimg_20161113_084248
badge of honor,

hold my sign higher

I once asked God
for a sign
and he told me,
point-blank,
helpfully

“First, you’ll
need
better shoes.”

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2016
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

First dance

A ma-and-pa resort, small lake
north woods of Minnesota
seeburgsmall office behind
quaint bar, twelve small cabins
dozen aluminum rowboats to use;
minnows, worms, leeches for sale
amenities, ala Angler’s Edge

Joe & Gloria’s place

The bar a hangout for township locals
grandpa Ivar and I frequented the nicked,
cigarette-burn speckled
polished, yellow-varnished bar for a
North Star beer, ice cold Nesbitt’s Orange
I enjoyed from my end-of-bar spot

A summer semi-regular.

Perched atop two upside-down
wooden Coca-Cola crates
stacked together, laid across two
shiny red-vinyl top, chrome-rimmed
swivel-seat bar stools
bringing me to proper sitting.
sipping height

until the summer my height
matched my station withDino45
always jovial Joe, ever kindly
large-laughing Gloria

Joe would slip me dimes
to play his disc-bowling machine
feed his 45-laden Seeburg jukebox
always selections G5, G6
back-to-back Dean Martin starting
with the bass-thump of Houston…

My musical choices amused Joe

his dimes, gratis – except on Fridays
when I earned my keep
prepping Angler’s Edge worn,
maple dance floor
for the evening’s band
paid in advance, I would crank Dean;
Little Ole Wine Drinker Me
grab the yellow-and-black shaker can
liberally sprinkle the dance wax
the floor all mine as I shuffled
to Dino crooning

“…I’m prayin’ for rain, in Califorrrrrnia….”maple1b

spontaneously choreographing
my personal pre-teen two-step
grinding the wax in
elevating the floor to polka, waltz
schottische, western swing perfection
finishing as Dino was faded off
…little ole wine drinker, me…I say…
with a show-stopping slide
ending near the cramped bandstand

between wax-infused Levi knees
tongue-in-groove hardwood boards
meeting no resistance
the wax, the music, the memories
rich patina of my youth

– Mark L. Lucker
© 2016
http://lrd.to/sxh9jntSbd

Dutiful

phone1Following my calling
and the call
dropped

I call back
nobody picks up
nobody calls back

I have left the messages

trying to reconnect
number no longer
in service
‘your recipient hasn’t
set up voice mailphone2
for this account’

Am I being ignored
via caller I.D.
spurned due to
embarrassed discomfort

Following my calling
and the call
dropped

inexplicably

not in a dead zone
I have plenty of bars
battery fully charged

I followed my calling
now nobody calls
nobody writes
no text, FaceTime,
stone tablet
pronouncementphone

Following my calling
when the call
dropped

Trying to reconnect.

Leave your name
and number
I’ll get back to you

– Mark Lucker

Tips

Life is not karaoke

performing words, ways
of others
interest me not at all

imitationtipjar1
less sincere flattery
more pandering laziness

someone else’s persona
under guise of
your ‘interpretation’

nothing there is real.

I sit on a rickety stool
deliver my own material
strum my own chords
sing my own song

battered tip jar
constantly overflows with
gratuitous knowledge,
advice, cautionary tales,
cryptic foretelling,
simple greetings

crumpled singles
lay atop crisp new bills of
various denominations

rubber checks
fortune cookie slips
bank robber notes
inadvertent shopping lists
mingle unobtrusively

between sets
I empty the snifter
let the aroma waft

smooth out the crinkled
tender, rough drafts
and manuscript

absorb doodles, scribbles
assorted hieroglyphs
phone numbers

keeping some, using
many, tossing most
remembering all

the words, ways
of others as intimation
not imitation

playing my show live
all original
not my take of
someone else’s shtick

making it all
just someone else’s
take on me

– Mark Lucker

‘Bang. Bangbangbang.’

Middle age and being a
grandfather for the first time
finds me going back and
looking forward

reflecting on past errors,
omissions, miscalculations
and major ‘oopsies’ in

hand-mirror over-the-shoulder
Annie Oakley sharpshooter-style

without the gift of an eagle eye
or benefit of practicing good aim
I happily fire away